Carroll County Times Opinion

Dean Minnich: Trying to make sense of just how law and order we are as a country | COMMENTARY

I’ve spent the week straining to come up with an answer to the question, “If a country’s greatness is measured by how many people are allowed to own guns, how come we have so many problems?”

If owning a gun, any gun you want, is a ticket to freedom, why do we have more citizens in jail, per capita, than any nation in the world?


Is Haiti a better country than America? They have people in the streets with guns and no one seems able to control them, either.

They say the cops in Haiti and Mexico are corrupt, but we don’t have that problem, right?


I think we have a better country, because we believe we are all about law and order. We have shows on TV about how law and order we are, including three in a row with that very name on the same night, same network.

Then on another night of the week there are three more with FBI in the name, which, irrespective of how local cops feel about the FBI, is still held up as the gold standard of law enforcement in the world. Ask any sheriff in the country, who will tell you the FBI is almost as good as the average Mississippi deputy.

Rural Southern and Western law enforcement have it easier than big city cops on the coasts. Everybody is related and every citizen’s guns are hanging right there in the windows of their pickups. Big city cops just assume nobody is related but everybody’s guilty of something, or will be. And they’re all carrying a gun, maybe more than one, likely hidden, which means you must catch the person to frisk them.

When you try to catch a big city suspect — cops call them “subjects” — they run. When they run, cops are offended. When cops are offended, they sometimes lose their composure, which might be loosely attached to begin with, because you might be half ticked off at the world to want to be a cop and fix things.

Frankly, I wonder why anybody would run from a cop or resist arrest. I was brought up not to offend anyone whose toolbelt holds a loaded pistol, handcuffs and a thick club. Nothing irritates a cop faster than being forced to run after someone. Which leads me to question why, in the TV cop shows, law officers always yell at a suspect — subject — when they’re still half a block away, “Police! Stop right there!”

You know what happens next. The bad guy runs, adding four minutes to the show, and ending only when he runs up a flight of stairs to the roof with nowhere to go. Or they run down the street and get creamed by a garbage truck.

Sometimes, when a cop has been forced to chase a suspect they catch one, and then the frisking part can be administered with a little more roughness than what goes by the book. Payback for the jog.

And sometimes, in real life, the officer has backup, reinforcements who make their own contributions to the preservation of law and order (in football, this is called “piling on”) and the ensuing activity is captured on one of about 500 cellphone cameras with the action early on the 11 o’clock news. Like within six minutes.


So, everybody in the world knows what the cops did, but no one will come forward to snitch on the perpetrators of local crimes. Maybe the choice between angry cops or vicious gangs is not easy in some places.

But officially, we are all about law and order. Give us our guns and cut spending taxes on social needs and everything is good.

Look at the love for law and order we showed the world when those “tourists” visited The Capitol on that Jan. 6 and went searching for politicians to hang. Republicans have nothing bad to say about it.

Just think what the “tourists” might have done if they’d all brought their guns that day.

Brings a tear to my eye.

Dean Minnich served two terms as a Carroll County Commissioner.